Leaning against the bar, talking unutterable shite and nodding along with even worse nonsense, a thought crossed my mind.
Isn’t this a great way to live?
I know we’re going through an economic depression as bad as the one in the 20s and 30s, but still, we have things they can’t take away from us. We have science fiction. And we have ridiculous bar-room fun-filled banter. How bad?
Admittedly, they had science fiction in those grim days too, but they called it religion, and it was dispensed by some self-important fool in a dress. What’s more, the fool in a dress required us to believe the tosh he was spouting and might even have agreed with some of it himself in his drunker moments.
Today, by contrast, our nonsense is self-generated and self-disbelieved, which is something you’d have to like, really, especially since the belief systems are so disparate and so optional.
If belief was optional, as it is in the Anglican Communion, I might well be a member of a religion myself, provided I didn’t have to believe anything. I’ve already made tentative enquiries to see if I’d make a suitable Church of Ireland rector and the signs are looking good.
Wanted. One atheist priest to administer small Anglican parish in mid-West of Ireland. Salary variable. Random sexual encounters with bored parishioners a possibility. Scones and crab-apple jelly guaranteed.
The great thing about science fiction, much like Anglicanism, is that you can choose to believe whatever you want. To put it another way, the main thing is suspension of disbelief, and yet, when you get right down to it, this is exactly the same underlying approach they take in Catholicism and Islam, among many others.
Here’s an utterly ludicrous proposition. A virgin becomes pregnant. Water turns into wine. A biscuit becomes a man. You stay alive after you die.
No you fucking don’t. As I often say to my children, I come here to protect you from a far-distant time.
No rational person can possibly believe this nonsense and therefore you’re left with little option but to suspend disbelief, much as you do when you go to the theatre or watch some movie on the telly.Timescale is the only difference. It’s easy to believe, for a couple of hours, that Arnold Schwarzenegger is a murderous robot, that Keanu Reeves is a real actor or that Clint Eastwood is still alive, but nobody says you have to believe shit forever, except the priests.
In their defence, I should emphasise, not all priests are perverts, but they are all fools if they expect us to believe this tosh.
Needless to mention they don’t, mainly since most of them are by now alcoholic unbelievers while the rest are dead from old age, and therefore gone forever. Kaput. The end. This clerical parrot is deceased. Gone, for the most part, and never so much as felt up an altar-boy.
What’s the answer and where is this going?
Well, to revert to the start of this thing, I alluded to a bar-side conversation and it’s here I’d like to tie it all together.
We’re doomed, said a well-known musician of my acquaintance. The Sun is going to explode.
‘Tis, I replied. When?
In about 200 million years. Or billion, or something.
So we needn’t be too worried for the moment?
Call another pint there, I urged.
Quasars, he said.
If a quasar passes your planet, it’s fucked.
You’re right, I agreed. If a quasar passes our planet, the whole galaxy is fucked. Let’s work to make sure that never happens.
Let’s set up a Facebook page, he enthused. No Quasars in our Galaxy. If you agree, Like this.
So I did. I set up a Facebook page on that very subject, called No Quasars In the Milky Way.
That should be enough to prevent those unimaginably gigantic cosmic events from spreading to our galaxy.
Of course, the question has to arise, What the fuck will we do if the Universe doesn’t read Facebook? I know it’s unlikely, but this is Plan B folks, ok? No need to panic.
Strictly in the interests of completeness, I turned to my interlocutor at the bar and muttered What the fuck will we do if the Universe doesn’t read Facebook?
What else? he smiled, superciliously. We’ll go to Antarctica and we’ll excavate the long-forgotten Stargate.
As opposed to the one we knew about all the time?
Right. And then?
And then we’ll travel transgalactically to planets populated by peace-loving, trusting, primitive folk.
And what then?
Why, then we’ll kill them and take everything they have, just as we always did here on earth.
Sounds like a plan, I agreed.